Friday, May 12, 2006

Vietnam vs. Iraq

Both George W. Bush and Dick Cheney successfully avoided Vietnam -- the President by serving in the Air National Guard and the Vice President through draft deferments. But I wonder if, in their heart of hearts, either of these politicians ever truly supported America's withdrawal from Southeast Asia. Based on their rhetoric, I seriously doubt it.

I think most Americans agree that the Vietnam War was a very costly mistake -- a blemish on our nation's proud history. We never should have gotten into that war in the first place and we sure as hell should have ended our involvement much sooner than 1973. There was no domino effect. Indeed, in 1978 Vietnam even briefly went to war against its communist ally China. Who knows what to say to the families of over 58,000 Americans who gave their lives for their country in Vietnam?

So, what about Iraq? Most Americans today believe we should never have started this war either. I don't know what to say to the families of over 2,400 Americans who have already given their lives in Iraq. All I can say is that the parallels with Vietnam seem frighteningly similar.

Many dissenting generals have said we needed more soldiers in Iraq -- not to win the war, but to win the peace. Now, it's too late because America is perceived by most Iraqis as occupiers, not liberators. Why did we not have enough troops? The simple answer is because we ended the military draft in 1973. If there were still a draft, you can be sure there would once again be demonstrations in the streets and student strikes on campus, just like there were in the late '60s and early '70s. On the other hand, if America really and truly is at war, why is there no draft? That's unconscionable.

President Eisenhower warned Americans about the military industrial complex -- that combination of U.S. armed forces, arms industry corporations, and associated political and commercial interests. Right there, square in the middle of the bulls eye, you'll find President Bush and Vice President Cheney, orchestrating the unprecedented, obscene profits being generated off this war in Iraq. Follow the money. Then, you'll understand the true purpose of the Iraq War.


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